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Doug Beattie MLA calls for more engagement in AE22 Leader's Lecture

In the third of the Queen’s University's AE22 Leaders' Lecture series, Doug Beattie went off script to call for deeper engagement.

Prof Margaret Topping and Doug Beattie MLA by the Lanyon
Professor Margaret Topping (Queen's), and Doug Beattie MLA, leader of the Ulster Unionist Party

Mr Beattie began his talk by reflecting on the situation in Ukraine, urging all in Northern Ireland to do what they can to help the people in the area.

He went on to speak of his own 'layered' sense of home and belonging: "My home is within the United Kingdom; it is where my sense of belonging is. I am also Irish. I am also Northern Irish...and I am at ease with that".

Beattie then outlined his approach to 'pragmatic unionism', adding: "I want a more inclusive, creative, positive approach to change...we do not have power sharing, we have a power carve-up".

Diverging from the text of his speech Mr Beattie set out his thoughts on the 'union of people' he has called for, and urged that politicians and people learn to engage with each other, for all their differences.

He proposed that after the election, in order to promote collaborative working, the Parties should agree the programme for government first, and only then allocating minitstries. "Risk is good - we have to take risk", he urged, adding that "we need an opposition desperately", in order to challenge the Government.

Following his address, Doug Beattie responded to a wide range of sometimes tough questions from the live audience and from those watching online, in a Q&A session deftly moderated by Professor Margaret Topping, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Internationalisation at Queen's.

Watch the recording of the full event here:

This series will take place on campus, in the Great Hall and other lecture theatres, as well as being made available on our website.